Vital Conversations results show concerns among young adults

·3 min read

The results of two online and interactive Vital Conversation events for young adults, hosted by the Community Foundation Grey Bruce, with support from RBC Future Launch in mid-October 2020, were released recently. The sessions asked people between the ages of 18 and 30 their thoughts on the impacts of COVID-19, their readiness for a changing work environment and their economic and holistic wellbeing.

Approximately 30 young adults from Grey Bruce participated in each of the Zoom meetings.

The first session was hosted online from the Nuclear Innovation Institute in Port Elgin and facilitated by Melri Wright and Mike Wright from Ledge Leadership. The session featured speakers including Emily Morrison executive director of Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover; Melanie Rodriguez, communications and network engagement manager at Ontario Nonprofit Network; and Ashleigh Weeden, an award-winning rural innovator and PhD candidate in rural studies at the University of Guelph. After the presentations, the participants broke into small groups, led by the speakers.

The second session, also held via Zoom, was presented in collaboration with Georgian College Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation.

Participants put forth a number of thoughts utilizing an online design thinking platform, with the following being the most prominent, including that networking and building personal connections are an important aspects of work preparedness. Many thought physical and mental health is interconnected so creating a balance between the two are critical for overall wellness. Participants expressed that adaptability will help with developing a career in the current climate, as well participation in extracurricular activities, such as volunteering and travel, and skill building, such as public speaking and emotional intelligence, are valuable building blocks to employment success. Many also indicated how so many people are suffering the effects of COVID, including isolation and restrictions, and the importance of being kind and considerate, to themselves as well as others, to stay healthy and positive. This is a time for tolerance and patience.

Stuart Reid, executive director of the foundation said the information gathered from these sessions emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships in forging any type of entrepreneurial endeavour. Young adults are very concerned about supports for mental wellness within their workplaces and home life, the effects of rural isolation, the lack of regional transportation in Grey Bruce and the challenge of accessing reliable WIFI to stay connected.

The foundation has been engaged with youth for the last couple of years, and the information from these sessions will be used in the next Vital Signs report. The most recent report can be found online at

“Community Foundation Grey Bruce will be continuing its work in knowledge-gathering in the coming years through our Vital Signs reports,” said Reid. “Community conversations and check ins, like these Vital Conversations with Youth, support an open discussion on wellbeing and are indicative of a variety of priorities that are emerging in Grey Bruce. We are very pleased to reflect back some of the idea clusters that emerged from these online gatherings.”

Created in 1994, Community Foundation Grey Bruce has a mandate to enhance community vitality by fostering open discussion about local need, sharing knowledge, and growing endowments to provide strategic granting and support to a wide range of non-profit organizations.

Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent